NEW GLASGOW — Noah Dignan’s soccer journey has taken a dramatic turn.
The 14-year-old Grade 9 student at North Nova Education Centre, with a dream to become a professional soccer player, recently took a big step toward his goal when he was selected to join the Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Academy’s annual showcase scheduled for November in Vancouver. He is among a small group of high-potential players who will join players from the Whitecaps’ other Academies located throughout B.C. and across Canada.
Dignan was three years old when he moved from Glasgow, Scotland with his family. His father Mike Dignan is a skilled soccer player and enthusiast and he helped make soccer an almost daily routine. But his father has seen how his son’s desire has propelled him to these recent new heights as his soccer game matures.
“This is all down to Noah’s drive and singular desire to achieve his goal,” Mike said.
“I used to play in the yard with my dad,” Noah said. “My friends were playing soccer and I wanted to do the same.”
Noah was seven when he started playing with Northern Nova United Soccer Club teams, and later played with the Highland Soccer Club.
He trains with Soccer Nova Scotia’s Under-17 team and the Whitecaps’ Nova Scotia Academy Team in an Under-17 AAA league in Halifax. Noah spent the summer there billeting with a family and training full time before the Nova Scotia Academy elected to send him to B.C.
“Noah has overcome competing with and against players several years older than he is,” Mike said. “We realized he’s good enough to play at this level.”
The November showcase allows the Whitecaps to assess and choose players to join the club’s full-time residency training program, where the players live, attend school and train full-time with the pro team.
If Noah is chosen this fall, he will be allowed to join the Whitecaps organization in September 2019 after he completes Grade 9.
“The Whitecaps wanted him two years ago, but he was too young,” Mike said. “This will be a perfect age to get him in now.”
He has never played goal but has played other positions and is now a right wing forward.
“I started playing defence when I was younger and then moved to midfield and was a striker and I’m now a winger,” he said.
Along with the high level of talent and mettle required of Noah for this soccer journey is the financial challenge.
His parents — Mike and Julie — will be grateful for whatever corporate sponsorship or individual financial contributions to help fund Noah’s time with the Academy and travel costs associated with his training to date.
Noah Dignan stands beside a soccer goal at the Sobeys outdoor complex in Stellarton. (Goodwin photo)